Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Fellowship of the Believers

Acts 2:42-47 (New International Version)
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

After retiring in September of 2010 after 25 years in the military as a weather forecaster, I have returned to school to get my teaching certification as a science teacher. Since Texas State does not offer certification in atmospheric science, I went the biology route with the hope of later getting certified in atmospheric science through testing. I was sitting in a biology lab doing an experiment involving sexual selection and guppies. It involved measuring the amount of time a female guppy spent with male guppies. I'll not bore you with the details, but suffice to say that, there was a lot of waiting around with stop watches. The rest of the class was involved in similar experiments and conversations were going on about movies and the like when someone mentioned pets.

Someone wondered aloud what our dogs and cats must think to which I replied, that beyond eating, sleeping and making kittens and puppies probably not a whole lot, and if anyone thought differently, they need only change the person who fed their pets to see where their pets loyalty/love remained. Now I will allow that there may be more to it that that, but this probably occurs as a matter of socialization than any human like characteristics that the pets have. There was as you might expect, a general outcry, that this one or that one's dog or cat was different and the conversation moved on. A little while later, after another conversation on the implications of extraterrestrial life on religion, the TA made the statement that she was atheist. Not really a surprise, that a college student would claim to be an atheist. Its the "sexy" position after all, and it fits well with a field of science that proclaims that humans are no different from animals and that who we are and what we are is simply an accident of genetic mutation. Then she started preaching.

Among the many assertions she made was this one. "I just can't believe in a god that has human characteristics." No problem mind you, in believing that the dog or cat may have human characteristics, but unable to believe that God might. The conversation was rich with irony and illogical assertion (pointing to a real need in our churches for catechesis i.e. teaching of the basics of our faith) but for today, I'd like to focus on one point.

When famine struck Armenia during the reign of Maximus, Christians lent assistance to the poor regardless of religious affiliation. Eusebius, the great 4th century ecclesiastical historian, tells us that as a result of the Christian's good example many pagans made inquiry "about a religion whose disciples are capable of such interested devotion." Julian the Apostate, who detested Christianity, complained of Christian kindness toward the poor:

"These impious Galileans not only feed their own poor, but ours also; welcoming them to their agape, they attract them, as children are attracted, with cakes."

The early church institutionalized the care of widows and orphans and saw after the needs of the sick, especially during epidemics. During the pestilences that struck Carthage and Alexandria, Christians earned respect and admiration for the bravery with which they consoled the dying and buried the dead, at a time when the pagans abandoned even their friends to their terrible fate.

The third century bishop and church father Saint Cyprian rebuked the pagan population for not helping the victims of the plague, preferring instead to plunder them. This exhortation of St Cyprian was all the more curious when one considers that this was a time of intermittent persecution of Christians. Meaning the bishop was asking followers to help the very people who had at times persecuted them.
"If we are the children of God...let us prove it by our acts, by blessing those who curse us, and doing good to those who persecute us."

The May 9 New York Times has a wonderful profile of the relief work of the Southern Baptist Convention. As the story notes, the SBC is the third largest private disaster relief organization in the United States, counting 95,000 trained volunteers, one of the most well-organized cohorts of chain saw crews in the world, and mobile command centers that can swing into action with only a few hours’ notice. The Times story goes on to note the work of the Mennonites, the Lutherans, the Presbyterians, and other denominational groups and while it fails to note the religious history of the Red Cross and the outright denominational status of the Salvation Army (the #1 and #2 organizations), one cannot help but be proud to read about selfless, tangible things that are done in the name of Christ and His mercy. Biology today, tells us we are no different from the animals. According to my biology text, organisms do not act for the good of the species, there is no such thing as a higher or lower animal, a human is no higher than its tapeworm parasites, and we have evolved by natural selection based our ability to gather resources and produce offspring.

Are we no different than Hyenas, who practice sororicide, killing off sisters to insure the head female remains in power? Perhaps we are more akin to Penguins, one of a few animals who seem to care for their young beyond merely giving birth and feeding. Even with Penguins, there is no mercy for sick chicks, and no other penguin parents step in to assist if one parent fails to return from a feeding trip. There is no mercy here.

Maybe my biology TA was right. that it makes no sense to believe in a God with human characteristics. Perhaps in the end, what we think of as human characteristics are instead, characteristics of God."

 Why? Because these early believers had an encounter with the living God who told them and showed them, that loving God meant sacrificial loving. Loving neighbors - even when it made no sense, even when it was inconvenient, even when it was costly, even if it meant thinking of themselves as a distant second..

When we are born, we are self centered narcissists, we believe the world revolves around us. Left to our own devices we will remain that way. Thank God, he has not left us to our own devices. He has offered us another way, his way, the way of the cross. By emptying ourselves in service to Jesus Christ we can partake in one of God's greatest gifts; As we look back at the incarnation- the virgin birth, the life and suffering, crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord, we, like the early Christians, see that in Christ, God has shown us what it is to be true God and more importantly, what it was to be truly human.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Iran warns of a "coming great event" (WND) and launches a small satellite into orbit (named Navid, or Gospel btw) according to the AP. The Christian Science Monitor says Iran could have a bomb before the election and ABC is reporting that Israeli facilities in North America -- and around the world -- are on high alert for an "increasing" threat. Ain't that just peachy

Friday, May 20, 2011

There Is No Other Stream

Evangel's favorite Narnia passage and one of mine too....

Jill, a young girl, has been transported to another world, and nears a stream to satisfy her thirst—but sees a lion, a lion that frightens her. And then, the lion speaks: “If you’re thirsty, you may drink.”
Anyway, she had seen its lips move this time, and the voice was not like a man’s. It was deeper, wilder, and stronger; a sort of heavy, golden voice. It did not make her any less frightened than she had been before, but it made her frightened in rather a different way.
“Are you not thirsty?” said the lion.
“I’m dying of thirst,” said Jill.
“Then drink,” said the lion.
“May I—could I—would you mind going away while I do?” said Jill.
The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.
The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.
“Will you promise not to—do anything to me, if I do come?” said Jill.
“I make no promise,” said the Lion.
Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.
“Do you eat girls?” she said.
“I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.
“I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill.
“Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.
“Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”
“There is no other stream,” said the Lion.
—C. S. Lewis, The Silver Chair

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"...Just Start Admitting That We Do Actually Want To Indoctrinate Kids"

Refreshing in its honesty if nothing else... this article from Queerty. H/T Bulldog and Ronin

"...Why would we push anti-bullying programs or social studies classes thatteach kids about the historical contributions of famous queers unless we wanted to deliberately educate children to accept queer sexuality as normal?

... I for one certainly want tons of school children to learn that it’s OK to be gay, that people of the same sex should be allowed to legally marry each other, and that anyone can kiss a person of the same sex without feeling like a freak. And I would very much like for many of these young boys to grow up and start fucking men. I want lots of young ladies to develop into young women who voraciously munch box. I want this just as badly as many parents want their own kids to grow up and rub urinary tracts together to trade proteins and forcefully excrete a baby.
I and a lot of other people want to indoctrinate, recruit, teach, and expose children to queer sexuality AND THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. ..."

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He Is Risen

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.
It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His flesh: ours.
The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that–pierced–died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.
Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.
The stone is rolled back, not papier-mâché,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.
And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.
Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.
—John Updike, Seven Stanzas At Easter, 1964

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cause and Effect and Global Warming Hysteria

When scientists confuse cause and effect aka "that's my story and I'm sticking to it."
H/T to Secondhand Smoke for picking up on the article from the WSJ

For  years we have heard that we humans have caused CO2 to rise–and hence it is “physics,” to  use Al Gore’s terminology–that we are causing warming.  Proof was in the ice core pudding.  But then, we found that the earth warmed before the CO2 level rose in the past.  But why let that interfere with an easy to sell government/GWH complex story line? More here

Defend It If You Can- Esolen on the Sexual Revolution

Anthony Esolen over at Public Discourse takes on the Sexual Revolution from the view of the common good...
and Magister Christianus has some great comment (as usual) over at Bedlam and Parnassus..

"...let the sexual revolution be justified on grounds of the common good. I believe it fails that test miserably, with evidence that is weighty, obvious, manifold, logically and anthropologically deducible, and clearly predictable by wisdom both pagan and Christian. Let them make their case, rather than asserting a principle that, in reality, would destroy the very idea of the common good. For if we cannot appeal to the common good in a matter so fundamental, I do not see how we can appeal to it in any other." 
Read the whole thing

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Creed

First Things presents its first video, The Creed: What Christians Profess, and Why It Ought to Matter. Produced by actor, director, and writer, Tim Kelleher,The Creed is a remarkable film about why the radical claims made in the Nicene Creed are so important to all of us.

Whether you are a student or a teacher; one struggling with questions of faith or a believer,
The Creed will be a challenging and rewarding experience.

A good Youtube video too:

Friday, April 1, 2011

Maybe nothing we do matters at all.........but....... what if everything does?

This is a must read, and I do not say that lightly. Baron Batch played football for Texas Tech and graduated last year. He authored a column in the Lubbock paper his senior year.
The day after the bowl game on January 1, he jumped on a plane for Haiti with Operation Hope. Class act, indeed.

Diary 25 (when ripples collide)

Let me start by saying I’m not sure how to convey this story in words. Words don’t do it justice but I’ll try.

Have you ever watched rain fall on a lake? Each raindrop creates its own ripple. When you combine the millions of raindrops and the millions of ripples that each singularly creates, you have a countless number of overlapping ripples that all have an effect on one another. The cool thing about this is that each raindrops ripple has an effect on the other ripples in the lake, even if it’s just in a small way. This is how people operate on a daily basis. We are individual raindrops in a huge lake. Of course each of us has our own ripple, but our lives are primarily made up of other peoples ripples crashing into our own. Many people like to think that our ripples crash randomly into each other without purpose or reason. Maybe that’s true, but then again maybe it’s not true at all. Perhaps I can help you decide. Maybe this story is the result of many ripples just coincidentally crashing into each other. Or maybe each ripple was ordered, measured, weighed, named, and timed perfectly to synchronize with the others to save a life.

The story I am about to tell shows what happens when ripples collide perfectly.

Ripple 1.)

Just about every day someone approaches me and tells me how much they enjoy my writing, this is always humbling because I was never a good writer while I was in school. It’s strange to now be a published writer and have zero writing experience or background. It’s even more insane to get a request to speak to a high school creative writing class! What do I say? “Hi, my name is Baron. I failed English, let me show you my writing skills?"  I’m not really sure how things got to this point where writing is such a huge part of who I am. Maybe it’s all a coincidence. Maybe everything is just random, and this is another one of my crazy hobbies that I have picked up; just like the time I watched the Karate Kid marathon and then researched bonsai trees and decided I needed one. Or maybe there is a reason, maybe there is an order, maybe there could possibly be a plan.

Maybe someone, somewhere, at some time, needed to read something that I would at some point write. 
Would it be far-fetched to say that there is a reason you are standing where you are standing at this exact moment and reading these words at this exact time? Would it be far fetched to say that a small decision that you see as pointless or routine could save a life? Perhaps we are all far more connected than anyone can see or comprehend. Maybe one day you will save my life. It’s not as far-fetched as you may think.  Maybe everything is just a coincidence, but maybe its not.
Get on board, buckle up, and lets take a trip.

Ripple 2.)

Back in August I approached the Midland Reporter Telegram and the Lubbock Avalanche Journal about possibly writing a weekly column chronicling my senior year at Texas Tech. After talking with both papers I came to the decision that my column would run every Wednesday. Maybe the fact that we agreed on Wednesday was simply random. What if we would have decided on a Thursday? No biggie right? Would if be far-fetched to say that this would be a life or death decision?

Ripple 3.)

As the season progressed I continued to write every week. However, it became increasingly difficult to write my column especially after a loss. People said that I wasn’t focused and it was hurting the team. There were weeks I told myself that I was just going to quit writing. I rationalized my thinking by telling myself that I should probably just focus all my attention on football, and that writing was distracting me.  It probably wouldn’t have been a big deal if I had missed a week right? Every part of me wanted to quit writing my column. After the Oklahoma State loss I decided I was going to discontinue my column. A friend talked me into continuing my writing by saying “maybe someone needs to hear something you have to say Baron.”  I decided not to stop. I’m glad I didn’t. 
This is where ripples collide.

Ripple 4.)

Last Monday I had all 4 of my wisdom teeth removed. It’s not as bad as everyone makes it out to be, so the next day I decided that I wanted to have a steak.  As I was strolling through the meat section of the supermarket directly violating the dentists orders to eat only soft foods, something happened that changed the way I will use the word random.

As I was checking out the price on ribeye steaks an older man came up to me with his hand extended and said, “Your Baron Batch and I just want to shake your hand and say thank you”.
I could tell by the look in his eyes that the handshake meant much more than I imagined. The look in his eyes was different than if he was just a regular Texas Tech fan. The man just continued to shake my hand while staring at me; it started to get awkward the amount of time his hand clung to mine. I thought to myself “gees this guy is acting like I saved his life or something.” Finally he let go of my hand but still didn’t speak a word. Of all the awkward Texas Tech fan moments I have experienced this one had been the most awkward for sure. I got nervous when he prefaced his conversation with “I don’t expect you to respond to what I’m about to tell you”

Ripple 5.)

Finally he released  his grasp and spoke words that I will never forget. This is what he said:
You saved my life. Five months ago I had given up, I was going to end it all.  It was a Wednesday (ripple 2). I felt like I had nothing else to live for. I had my pistol in my lap while I sat at my desk. I had set newspaper out around the floor so I wouldn’t make a mess for whoever found me. I was about to do it. Right before I pulled the trigger I looked down and saw a piece of newspaper that said, “The easiest thing in the world to do is quit.” I put the gun down and started to read more. It was a column that you had written. Your column saved me. Thank you.

I’m glad that he told me that he didn’t expect me to respond because I was speechless. I was in awe. I was stunned. Before I could even think of anything to say back to him he said, “I’m doing much better now. I feel like you just needed to know that you’re making a huge difference.” Then he walked away.

I’m not an emotional person at all but I almost cried in the meat section of the United Supermarket. At that exact moment all of those random coincidences swirled into one beautiful event that made perfect sense. 

What if I had chose to have my column run on a Thursday instead of a Wednesday? It would have been a day late. What if I had given up writing my column simply because the season wasn’t going as I wanted? There are hundreds of ripples that if any had been changed would have NOT resulted in the perfect situation for that man to sit the gun down. What if my column had been printed on another page of the newspaper? I was in complete awe, and still am.

I was curious to find out what the exact column the man had read by what he described it said.

Ripple 6.)

This is why I am even more in awe. I went back and found out what column he had read and this is the paragraph he saw.

 “The easiest thing in the world to do is quit on something. Quitting takes zero effort. Quitting can even be justified with excuses and legitimate reasons at times. When someone quits at something they can even lie to themselves by saying that what they quit on wasn’t that important. To those people with that mentality this is what I have to say. If it was important enough to start, it is important enough to finish. Don’t quit. Hold on, cling to what is yours until your fingers cramp; and once your fingers cramp switch hands.”

Ripple 7.)

I wrote that column on October 18th after a loss to Oklahoma State in mid October. There are a few reasons why I find it mind blowing that was the column that the man had read.

Ripple 8.)

 I wasn’t going to write a column that week. After the Oklahoma State loss I had decided I wasn’t going to write anymore. The reason I wrote about not quitting in my column that week was because I really wanted to quit and never write again. Good thing I didn’t quit.

Ripple 9.)

The other is reason that its mind blowing that was the column that the man read is because of the date it was actually written. When I went back and looked on my blog history, the date I posted that was October 18th. So why is that date important?

 Let me tell you why, and I’m getting chills as I write this. October 18th was the date I broke my ankle my freshman year. The reason this date is important to me is because if I wouldn’t have been injured I would have never redshirted and in result would have only played at Texas Tech for 4 years instead of 5; meaning that this past season for me wouldn’t have existed, and neither would the column I wrote.

Ripple 10.)

In all reality the only reason any of you are reading this right now is simply because I was at the wrong place at the wrong time on October 18th 2006 around 3:30pm  and broke my ankle my freshman year. Or maybe the reason you are reading this is because I was at the perfect place at the perfect time and broke my ankle so that our ripples would collide.

This will be my 25th column and I never would have imagined that it would have morphed into what it has. I never thought I would be known as a writer or be approached to write books. I mean seriously, I was the kid who hated English class and still don't really enjoy reading.

I had to share that story with everyone simply because its blown my mind for the past few days. Maybe that’s all just one humongous coincidence and series of random events that I somehow constructed into a story. Maybe its all luck and chance, maybe you stumbled on this article randomly surfing the web. Maybe nothing we do matters at all.........but....... what if everything does? 

God Bless.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Egyptian Armed Forces Fire At Christian Monasteries, 19 Injured

(AINA) -- For the second time in as many days, Egyptian armed force stormed the 5th century old St. Bishoy monastery in Wadi el-Natroun, 110 kilometers from Cairo. Live ammunition was fired, wounding two monks and six Coptic monastery workers. Several sources confirmed the army's use of RPG ammunition. Four people have been arrested including three monks and a Coptic lawyer who was at the monastery investigating yesterday's army attack.
Monk Aksios Ava Bishoy told activist Nader Shoukry of Freecopts the armed forces stormed the main entrance gate to the monastery in the morning using five tanks, armored vehicles and a bulldozer to demolish the fence built by the monastery last month to protect themselves and the monastery from the lawlessness which prevailed in Egypt during the January 25 Uprising... More

Friday, February 18, 2011

‘Death panels’: Canadian court rules baby’s life support removed against parents’ wishes

LONDON, Ontario, February 17, 2011 ( - One-year-old Joseph Maraachli of Windsor, Ontario will have his life support removed Monday at 10 am. after the Ontario Superior Court today rejected an appeal by the parents to bring him home where he can die under their care....

...“I asked them: why not send him to Windsor and let him die at home?” he continued.  “They said they will give him injection, but I don’t want to.”...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Iraqis defy threats to pack massacre church on Christmas

From AFP:
BAGHDAD — Hundreds of Christians packed Baghdad's Our Lady of Salvation church for Christmas on Saturday, defying threats of attacks less than two months after militants massacred worshippers and priests there.
Security was extremely tight, with forces armed with pistols and assault rifles guarding the area and a 10-foot high (three-metre) concrete wall topped with gleaming razor wire surrounding the church.
All cars entering the area were searched, and worshippers were patted down twice before being allowed into the church.
The mood was sombre after an October 31 attack claimed by Al-Qaeda affiliate the Islamic State of Iraq in which gunmen stormed the church, leaving two priests, 44 worshippers and seven security personnel dead.... More
Meanwhile attacks in the Philippines and Nigeria:
 A series of Christmas Eve church attacks and explosions left at least 38 people dead in two Nigerian cities, and at least six wounded in the Philippines. More

Christmas attacks kill at least 38 in Nigeria

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see- Merry Christmas to you all

Christ by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

- "Hark The Herald Angels Sing" v. 2-3

Merry Christmas to you all

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Eve Ghost Story

My attempt at "flash fiction". Meaning exactly 100 hundred words long. Which is perfect for my (look! a squirrel!) attention span. Inspired  by I Saw Lightning Fall. You can go here for the good stories..

The Cat

He awoke with a start. There in the window, silhouetted by the moon, was the cat. It was watching him.
He felt..something....regret?...guilt? Welling up, a swirling cloud of feelings spread about him, crying out to be named. He struggled against them, for they asked him to change. He would not.

He muttered an obscenity and threw the clock  at the beast, missing by inches. The cat did not move- only continued its wordless interrogation.

The sudden chill in the room seemed to come from within him. He could not move.
The cat leaped to the bed and whispered, "Let's go."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

UK terror plot aimed British landmarks, shopping

It appears the focus on more than one front of the terror war has shifted to smaller targets. The purpose of course is to induce widespread panic.

A large-scale terror attack was aimed at British landmarks and public spaces, security officials said Tuesday as more details emerged and police searched the homes of 12 British suspects being held for questioning.
The men — whose ages range from 17 to 28 — were arrested Monday in the largest counterterrorism raid in nearly two years. At least five were of Bangladeshi origin.

Read more

U.S. buffets and salad bars 'threatened with poison attacks’

There is probably a joke here as well if it weren't so deadly serious. Interesting thing here is that if credible, and it appears to be so, it would seem to signal a change in tactics. From large scale attacks to more local, small scale, "upsetting the apple cart" kind of attacks to disrupt the economy.

Al Qaeda terrorists are plotting to put deadly poison in the salad bars and buffets of hotels and restaurants, according to U.S. intelligence sources.
They would hide either ricin or cyanide in the food at a number of locations during one weekend to cause panic.
Those who ate the poisoned meals would fall ill and die within days. It takes only tiny quantities of either ricin or cyanide to kill.

Read more:

Sewage backup causes United Nations evacuation

Reuters had fun with this one. That's the actual headline above. That in itself is good enough for a number of jokes but I'll let Reuters do it instead:

(Reuters) - A sewage backup caused a big stink at the United Nations on Tuesday, forcing diplomats and their staff to evacuate the Security Council and General Assembly.
Spokesman Farhan Haq said the evacuation was a precautionary measure after a strange smell was noticed in parts of the U.N. secretariat building. He said the odor was due to sewage backup possibly caused by high tides in the nearby East River.
"There were gases released from the sewage but they're not harmful," Haq said. Firefighters and hazardous materials experts had been called to the scene. U.N. management officials were working to deal with the sewage problem, he said. More

Your phones don't keep secrets

Your Apps are Watching You

An examination of 101 popular smartphone "apps"—games and other software applications for iPhone and Android phones—showed that 56 transmitted the phone's unique device ID to other companies without users' awareness or consent. Forty-seven apps transmitted the phone's location in some way. Five sent age, gender and other personal details to outsiders.
The findings reveal the intrusive effort by online-tracking companies to gather personal data about people in order to flesh out detailed dossiers on them.... More

“I was at – forgive the expression – a Christmas party,”

Wow. How weird is that?

Totenberg’s bashfulness came as she explained how the failure of Congress to pass an annual budget has left federal workers in limbo:
Well, these agencies, including the Defense Department, don't know how much money they've got and for what. And I was at – forgive the expression – a Christmas party at the Department of Justice and people actually were really worried about this.

Read more: hat NewsBusters

Sunday, December 19, 2010

North Korea raises alert for artillery units along its west coast

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council met in emergency session on Sunday to try to cool tensions on the Korean Peninsula, but the five big powers were split on whether to publicly blame North Korea for the crisis.
Pyongyang raised an alert for artillery units along its west coast in what appeared to be its latest move in a growing crisis between the two Koreas, Yonhap news agency said, quoting a South Korean government source. The report was issued ahead of a planned live-fire drill by South Korea.... More here

Saturday, December 18, 2010

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out, Kid

whoops. Its one of my favorite movies, I couldn't resist...
From Awkward Family Photos

UPDATE: South Korea Holds Off On Exercise In Light of Threats

One gets the feeling here that U.S. envoy has found that the situation is as dire as China and Russia have been warning. That far from empty threats, North Korea fully intends to retaliate should the ROK go forward with its military exercise. Halting an exercise because of  "an adverse weather forecast", i.e. "cloudy with a chance of rain" is obviously not a real reason. Something else is going on. I just wonder what the payoff is/was.

US envoy visiting North Korea has warned that the situation on the peninsula is a "tinderbox". more from BBC

From Business Week...China said it’s “deeply concerned” about the “extremely precarious” situation on the peninsula, Xinhua News Agency reported today, citing Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun.
Igor Morgulov, a director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Asian department, expressed “extreme concern” over North Korea’s readiness to use military force in a phone call yesterday with North Korean Ambassador Kim Yong-Jae.... More

Update: Cuba said? (who said? who cares?) Michael Moore's documentary, Sicko "-blatant misrepresentation of healthcare in Cuba"

Or not- According to HuffPo  (mr Moore that is writing at HuffPo) that wasn't the case at all. Instead, he proudly refers to the accolades received by the Communist regime quoted by an AP writer:

June 16, 2007 Saturday 1:41 AM GMT [that's 7 months before the false cable]
HEADLINE: Cuban health minister says Moore's 'Sicko' shows 'human values' of communist system
BYLINE: By ANDREA RODRIGUEZ, Associated Press Writer

OK- I guess thats better? Ah well. We'll leave Mr Moore to his paranoid rantings of the insurance company being out to get him and move on. Guess Wikileaks isn't all that after all. 

Ah, sweet irony.
From the Guardian:

Cuba banned Michael Moore's 2007 documentarySicko, because it painted such a "mythically" favourable picture of Cuba's healthcare system that the authorities feared it could lead to a "popular backlash", according to US diplomats in Havana.
  1. Sicko
  2. Production year: 2007
  3. Country: USA
  4. Cert (UK): 12A
  5. Runtime: 113 mins
  6. Directors: Michael Moore
  7. More on this film
The revelation, contained in a confidential US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks , is surprising, given that the film attempted to discredit the US healthcare system by highlighting what it claimed was the excellence of the Cuban system.
But the memo reveals that when the film was shown to a group of Cuban doctors, some became so "disturbed at the blatant misrepresentation of healthcare in Cuba that they left the room".... more

Friday, December 17, 2010

N. Korea-" it is not about war or peace ... but when the war will break out,"

North says to hit South harder if firing drill proceeds
* Seoul says firing drill on disputed island to go ahead
* China urges U.S. cooperation over North Korea

An unnamed senior North Korean military official told the Korean Central News Agency that if the south carried out more drills 'despite our military's prior warnings, second and third unpredictable self-defensive strikes will be made'.
A notice sent to the South Korean military today added that the retaliation would be made 'to safeguard our republic's sacred territorial waters' and that the 'intensity and scope of the strike will be more serious than the November 23 shelling'.

Read more

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Democrat: A Latin word for “lousy at math.”

Boston Globe Op-Ed:

You can have your own politics, my liberal friends, you aren't entitled to your own facts. 

and it just gets better..

Yesterday morning I endured watching a fertilizer-filled conversation on Fox 25 with Rep. Stephen Lynch, who hit every Pelosi talking point: The bill is full of “tax cuts,” in particular “tax breaks for the top 2 percent” of income earners. “We’re borrowing $855 billion from the Chinese . . . to finance these tax cuts [for the rich]” Lynch claimed, and he rejected the idea that the original Bush tax cuts had any stimulative effect....

...Democrats keep claiming will “cut taxes for the rich” doesn't cut taxes at all. It keeps rates the same. ...
...not letting them rise isn't a “cut” anywhere outside Washington. I’ve never seen an advertisement that said “C’mon down for big savings at the ‘We were going to raise prices but decided not to!’ sale!”...

...And as for those evil Bush tax cuts “costing us” billions, federal revenues increased 14.5 percent in 2005 and 11.8 percent in 2006, the fastest rise since 1981.... More here

Progressives v. Conservatives on Christianity

This is a nice piece over at Eye of Polyphemus:

There is a growing divide between how progressives and conservatives view Christian influence on policymaking decisions. Or even decisions not specifically directed at policy. The New Hampshire Democratic party, for instance, believes a Republican state representative's call for prayer to heal America is a Bible Belt call for imposing a theocracy. Paranoia and intolerance is a danergous combination, but New Hampshire Democrats appear to have indulged. More here